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Calhanoglu blunder as Lazio hold Milan in Italian Cup


Milan (AFP) – Hakan Calhanoglu missed an open goal as Lazio held AC Milan 0-0 in the Italian Cup semi-final, first leg in the San Siro on Wednesday, leaving all the play for in in Rome next month.

The winner will play either Juventus or Atalanta with Massimiliano Allegri’s side winning 1-0 in Bergamo on Tuesday night to keep on track for a fourth straight Cup crown.

But Gennaro Gattuso’s home side failed to get a fourth consecutive win on the trot against the battling Romans who had fallen 2-1 to Milan in the San Siro last Sunday.

The best chance of the night came deep into the game when Calhanoglu fired over the bar on front of an empty goal after 75 minutes.

“It’s part of the game, but it’s important to be there and in the right place, at the end of the game he was in a terrible state and it seemed like the end of the world,” said Gattuso of the Turkish midfielder.

Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile returned from injury but also missed several chances to break the stalemate notably a header cleared by Gianluigi Donnarumma after 62 minutes.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic also tested goalkeeper Donnarumma, before substitute Patrick Cutrone’s header was cleared by Thomas Strakosha only for Calhanoglu to send the rebound over an open goal.

“We were lucky too, Donnarumma pulled off a miracle on Immobile — that’s football, mistakes are there,” added Gattuso.

“It was important not to concede a goal, a goal that is worth double away from home, we were good and in the first half it went well.”

Meanwhile, Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi revealed Cutrone had approached him after the game to apologise after scoring a controversial goal on Sunday with his arm.

The second leg will take place at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on February 28.

Lazio have reached the final in three of the past five years, and were beaten in 2015 and 2017 by Juventus, who also beat Milan in 2016.

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